You can’t go into a white elephant gift exchange hoping to give someone a gift they’ll really enjoy. The odds of the particular gift reaching the particular person and touching their heart are just too slim. And you can’t participate in a white elephant gift exchange hoping to actually benefit from the exchange. The chances of the gift you take home being better than what you could have bought yourself is even lower. The only reason to participate in a white elephant is for the entertainment value of the event itself.
The most popular items at our work white elephant exchanges are invariably gift cards. We have a 20 dollar limit, so people buy 20 dollar cards for Best Buy, Target etc. These are feverishly stolen back and forth until they are no longer stealable. But again, wouldn’t you rather have 20 dollars to spend wherever you wish? So if you’re going to fight over these, why even enter? Instead, contribute something ridiculous, and expect something ridiculous.
This year’s most ridiculous item: the Forever Lazy. My issue is not so much in the contraption itself, but in the name. The item is silly to be sure, but the name is just horrendous. And the commercial looks like it’s an SNL parody. But no, it’s real. And so I bought one. And since it was only economical to buy 2, I bought 2. And since it was most comedic for it to be pink, I bought 2 pink ones. And since they have poor customer service, my 2 Forever Lazies arrived the day after my white elephant gift exchange.
So I was left at the 11th hour giftless. I’d made a valiant effort to provide a comical gift, of this year’s most recent novelty item. And with this effort expended, albeit futilely, I felt justified in resorting to contributing a gift card. I’d already spent the money on my Forever Lazies, so I felt further justified in not spending money. And since I had one a Dominos gift card the year prior, that is what I was going to contribute. I’m sorry Dominos, but if I’m going to spend money on chain-quality pizza, I’m getting Papa Johns. So the 20 dollars had sat on my shelf for the last 365 days, and now I’d give it to someone else.
The white elephant exchange had few surprises. A gift contained lotto tickets that ended up paying out $40 dollars, so that was a quality win. A gift card was paired with a tube of Mandelay, which is a sexual enhancement product that you can research on your own if you so desire. I put my Dominos gift card in a Victoria’s Secret bag, which had the intended effect of making the men hesitant to open it. But the biggest surprise came when we came to the end of the white elephant with only one person left to draw, and no gifts remaining. Who participates in a gift exchange and doesn’t contribute a gift? Whoever it was did not choose to speak up when the conundrum arose.
The last person to draw was of course myself. At this moment I felt especially glad that I had not contributed the awesome Forever Lazy I had originally intended. I was doubly glad that I had contributed a gift card that I had won and not wanted the year before. There was some brief discussion as to what I could receive, but my repeated statements that I didn’t care were ignored. One resident gave me the tube of Mandelay, despite my earnest efforts to refuse it. Then another gave me his gift, which he assured me he wasn’t going to use. It was a Dominos gift card.